This monument commemorates the 47 men of Draft Board District 61 who lost their lives in World War I. Dedicated on Armistice Day (now Veterans Day), November 11, 1922, the monument consists of a polished Stoney Creek granite stele bearing a classical bronze relief by Charles Keck (1875–1951).
Keck had a long and distinguished career as a sculptor. He studied with such illustrious artists as Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) and Philip Martiny (1858–1927). Some of his other works in New York City include a commemorative tablet on the rear of the Maine Monument in Columbus Circle (1935), the Father Duffy statue (1937), the Alfred E. Smith statue (1950), and the Brooklyn War Memorial (1951). The Citizens Memorial Association of District 61, Inc. commissioned Keck, at a cost of $13,000, to create this memorial to local residents who paid the supreme sacrifice while serving in the army and navy. For the Sixty-First District Monument, Keck sculpted an allegorical figure of Liberty laying a palm of peace on an altar of offering on which the names of the dead are inscribed. The figure bears strong resemblance to Keck’s work on the Maine Monument.
The monument originally stood in a garden on the grounds of nearby P.S. 130 at Ocean Parkway near Fort Hamilton Parkway. In 1936, the Parks monument repair crew cleaned the base and repatined the bronze. In 1944, due to construction that altered the grade elevations of these roadways, the monument was moved to its present location. Portions of a missing bronze wreath from the monument were replicated and reattached as part of a 1993 renovation of the playground. The monument was restored again in 1997.
Sixty First District Memorial Details
- Sculptor: Charles Keck
- Description: Figure (life size) in archiform high relief recessed in stele, decorated with applied wreaths on right and left sides (two in all), on base on plinth on terrace with three steps at front and bench at either end
- Materials: Relief and wreaths--bronze; stele--Stony Creek granite (polished); base, plinth, terrace, and benches--Stony Creek granite
- Dimensions: Stele W: 5'3" D: 2'4"; base H: 6"; terrace W: 40' (approximate); total H: 11'
- Cast: 1922
- Dedicated: November 11, 1922
- Donor: Citizens Memorial Association of Draft Board District Sixty One
- Inscription: HIS / COUNTRYMEN
AND DECORATIONS / FROM THE GOVERNMENTS / OF BELGIUM, FRANCE,/
ITALY, SPAIN AND PORTUGAL. / DIED - 1883/
RELOCATED FROM BRYANT PARK, 1934
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